Fourth double is Rovers goal
RICHMOND ROVERS will take the first step towards an unprecedented fourth straight premiership double when they take on danger side Alstonville in the opening round of Football FNC premier league soccer today.
Villa has the home advantage for the 3pm kick-off and while Rovers won their Anzac Cup clash 3-1 just a few weeks ago, the game was a lot closer than the scoreline suggests.
Incoming coach Tim Sheridan is trying to keep a lid on Rovers’ lofty expectations.
“Obviously it’s our aim this season to make it four doubles in a row, but right now we’re trying not to think too far ahead,” he said.
“The important thing at the moment is to build our rhythm and establish our pattern of play.”
Sheridan will continue with Rovers’ usual emphasis on a strong midfield game with a 3-5-2 formation, using last year’s coach Scott Coster in a sweeping role to replace one of their biggest losses, former captain Joel Saye.
With the loss of the attacking Casagrande brothers, Tim and Ben, as well, Sheridan will also be forced to use a new striking combination that blends youth and experience.
Former Golden Boot winner Matthew Olley has returned and while he is now 31, he has lost none of his instincts for goals and will combine with 20-year old prospect Jessie Hartman.
Villa are looking to build a strong home record and will be confident after a 1-0 win over Italo Stars earned them a place in the Anzac Cup semi-finals for the first time.
Their key players are dangerous flanker Sean Spencer and versatile midfielder Daniel Baxter.
They also have a recruit waiting on the bench in Keiran Taituma, a former Ipswich player.
“We have high expectations and we want to live up to them, so Rovers is the perfect challenge first- up,” Villa coach Troy Taylor said.
One Sunday match has been set down for the opening round, with Pottsville making its return to the premier league against Lismore Thistles at Thistles Park from 3pm.
The two met a few weeks ago in the Anzac Cup with Pottsville winning 2-1, but both sides will be missing several regulars tomorrow.